Ed Sheeran has said that he now films “every single writing session” to prevent future copyright cases into his songs.
Sheeran along with two of his co-writers – Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid and producer Steve McCutcheon – were accused of plagiarising part of a track called ‘Oh Why’ by Sami Chokri, who performs under the alias Sami Switch.
Sheeran and his co-authors, denied all allegations of copying, claiming that they don’t remember hearing ‘Oh Why’ before the claims were lodged. After an 11-day trial, Justice Zacaroli ruled on April 6 that Sheeran “neither deliberately nor subconsciously” copied a phrase from ‘Oh Why’ when writing ‘Shape Of You.’
Now, Sheeran and McDaid have now spoken to BBC2’s Newsnight about the cases with Sheeran saying that since the ‘Photograph’ settlement, he now records all songwriting sessions.
"I didn't play Photograph for ages after that… I felt weird about it, it kind of made me feel dirty."
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) April 8, 2022
He told the programme that “I just film everything” to prevent a similar case ever being brought in the future.
He explained: “We’ve had claims come through on songs and we go, ‘Well here’s the footage and you watch, and you’ll see that there’s nothing there’.”
Speaking about how his songwriting had changed as a result, he said: “I personally think the best feeling in the world is the euphoria around the first idea of writing a great song. That feeling has now turned into, ‘Oh wait, let’s stand back for a minute’.”
He continued: “You find yourself, in the moment, second-guessing yourself.”
Speaking about the most recent case, he said: “I’m happy it’s over. I’m happy we can move on and get back to writing songs. Lawsuits are not fun for anyone involved. And yeah, I think across all sides it was not a nice experience.”
He went on to say that he “had to stand up for what we thought was right” by defending his and his co-writers work, saying it was “not about money, this is about heart and honesty”.
Sheeran also told Newsnight that he regrets settling the $20million (£15million) copyright case over ‘Photograph’ in 2017, something he said resulted in “the floodgates [being] opened” for similar claims.
“I didn’t play ‘Photograph’ for ages after that,” Sheeran recalled. “I just stopped playing it. I felt weird about it, it kind of made me feel dirty. And we’ve now got to a point where we actually own all of the song again.”
In a statement issued after the case last week, Sheeran, McDaid and Mac said in a joint statement: “Here was a lot of talk throughout this case about cost. But there is more than just a financial cost. There is a cost on creativity. When we are tangled up in law suits, we are not making music or playing shows.
“There is a cost on our mental health. The stress this causes on all sides is immense. It affects so many aspects of our everyday lives and the lives of our families and friends. We are not corporations. We are not entities. We are human beings. We are songwriters. We do not want to diminish the hurt and pain anyone has suffered through this, and at the same time, we feel it is important to acknowledge that we too have had our own hurts and life struggles throughout the course of this process.
“There is an impact on both us and the wider circle of songwriters everywhere. Our hope in having gone through all of this, is that it shows that there is a need for a safe space for allsongwriters to be creative, and free to express their hearts. That is why we all got into this in the first place. Everyone should be able to freely express themselves in music, in art and do so fearlessly.”